Ask the Experts: Designing Your Dream Home — The Maine Way

Designing Your Dream Home — The Maine Way

Margo Moore Interiors
Photograph by Benjamin Williamson.

Why it pays to go with local pros when reimagining your décor.

Maine’s spectacular scenery and idyllic villages draw people from around the globe to put down roots here. But often, when people try to design their dream homes from afar, the finished product falls short, says Marcy van der Kieft, owner of Margo Moore Interiors in Camden. She and her daughter, designer Megan, frequently get called in to fix redos gone wrong. “Clients end up spending more than they would have by hiring a local professional from the get-go,” Megan says. The pair, whose 3,500-square-foot retail boutique and design studio has been a midcoast institution for nearly four decades, explains what Maine designers bring to the table — and your home.

Material Comforts The landscape that makes Maine a hot spot also creates décor challenges. Local pros understand how fabrics and surfaces perform in our rugged winters, messy mud seasons, and salty sea air, and how factors like a pervasively cloudy sky can drastically alter a room’s look. “Clients are often drawn to gray,” Megan says, “but because it can make a room feel moody, especially in winter, we guide them to alternatives.”

Reality Checks From color to scale to texture, many elements of interior design don’t translate over a computer screen. An expert with an intimate knowledge of product lines, and your home, has a visceral sense of what works and what doesn’t. Some common mistakes: selecting furniture that’s too large for the modestly sized rooms in old houses and getting deceived by pattern trends. “There are many large-scale patterns for wallpaper and fabric that make fabulous statements, but go terribly wrong in a room,” Marcy says.

Old House Know How Maine’s housing stock is among the oldest in the nation. Local designers understand how to update historic buildings, while accentuating details that showcase their character. To brighten a 19th-century kitchen she worked on recently, Megan had the wood floors refinished to restore their original luster and painted the walls and cabinets a clean white. To enhance the vintage charm, she added antique tin ceiling tiles and replaced a stainless steel sink with a slate farmhouse-style one. “The room felt fresh and its historic beauty shone through,” she says.

Stress Savers Having a Maine designer choreograph delivery and installation can help ensure a project gets done on time. When snafus come up, a designer who knows local specialists can more easily troubleshoot than someone out of state. When clients from Texas had a family heirloom damaged in a recent move, Marcy tapped her favorite furniture repair wizard, who fixed the piece before the family moved in. “Because of our network,” she says, “the clients didn’t have to endure those stressful logistics.”

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Contact Margo Moore Interiors or visit their retail boutique and design studio, where you’ll find intriguing home accessories you can buy off the floor, as well as high-quality rugs, linens, lighting, and more. 74 Elm St., Camden. 207-236-4596.

Look for designers who are members of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) or the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), which mandate that they undergo training and licensing requirements and follow a professional code of ethics.